Morning Meditation: Actors
During his ministry, Jesus calls people hypocrites.
Transcript: Welcome to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Light of Christ Anglican Church is located in Georgetown, Texas, at MLK and University Avenue. We are a modern expression of the ancient faith. You can learn more about us at lightofchristgeorgetown.org.
Our morning meditation comes from the first part of Matthew 7:5, where Jesus says, "You hypocrite." Jesus often refers to people as hypocrites in his teachings. What does the word hypocrite mean? Hypocrite literally means actor. When we think of an actor, what are they good at doing? A good actor is excellent at playing different personas. In other words, he's good at putting on different masks. He's able to act like a sailor navigating the sea in one movie. In the next movie, he's a baseball player, or he's a a politician. An actor is able to be a person that he isn't. He's able to wear a mask, to wear a persona, literally in Latin, “mask.” Hypocrite in Greek means “actor,” so Jesus calls people actors. He calls us actors. What does he mean when he's saying that?
When we think of actors or hypocrites, often when I think of hypocrite, I think of people who are putting on a persona, who are acting for others. They want others to think about them in a certain way. They want to put on a certain front, a certain veneer, and in doing so, they want people to think more highly of them, more highly than is warranted. They want to hide those aspects of themselves that they deem to be less than or weak.
What's more serious than being a hypocrite to our neighbor, is being a hypocrite towards God! You see, we try to wear our mask before God. We try to be an actor in front of God. Now, it's really ironic because God knows all things. He can easily see behind any mask. Yet we do this. Why do we act as we come before God? We come before God, not willing to bare our true selves, not willing to tell God or to show God how broken we really are and how sinful we really are, how scared we really are, but we try to put on this religious persona.
Why do we do that? It's because we're hiding. We're afraid to feel the shame that comes with God's light shining on the dirt and muck in our heart. Think of Adam and Eve in the garden, hiding from God. Shame is one of the most powerful and painful of emotions. When we come into the light, when we confess our sin, when we confess the reality of how we feel and all of the ugliness that it contains, when we feel that shame, it feels like a death. In the light of God, we also experienced his love. We experience the truth of 1 Timothy 1:15, where Paul says, "This is a worthy saying, deserving of full acceptance, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst." When we take off the mask, yes we experience the shame of our sins being revealed, but in that same moment, we experience the freedom from shame and guilt that God's love brings because love swallows guilt. The love that Jesus Christ shows us on the cross washes away all of our sin.
Let's not be hypocrites. Let's not be actors putting on a mask when we come to church, putting on a mask, when we come to God in prayer. Let's be our true selves and allow God to cleanse us and make us new.
Thank you for listening to the Light of Christ weekly podcast. Let us end our time together with a prayer from the book of Common Prayer. This prayer for preparation for personal prayer, can be found on page 675.
"Holy spirit, breath of God and fire of love, I cannot pray without your aid: Kindle in me the fire of your love and illumine me with your light; that with a steadfast will and holy thoughts I may approach the Father in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who reigns with you and the father in eternal union. Amen."